Does Gatorade Expire or Go Bad?

by Charlie

Admit it, we have all been there: you have a bottle of Gatorade sitting in the pantry for a long time and you are tempted to drink it. But then that rational voice in your head starts asking all these inane questions: does Gatorade go bad? Does Gatorade expire? Should I even keep Gatorade in my cupboards?

What happens if I drink bad Gatorade?

Let’s tackle all these questions, one by one.

Does Gatorade Expire?

Like any other energy drink out there in the market, Gatorade, too, has a shelf life and will expire. However, a bottle of Gatorade going past its expiration date or best by date does not necessarily mean that it will ‘go bad.’

Do you see that top line of the code right on the neck of the bottle? That’s the recommended use-by date. This is the date by when the manufacturers recommend you drink the Gatorade, not because it will ‘go bad’ or spoil, but because that is the date till when the freshness and the flavor of the Gatorade drink are at its best. 

An unopened bottle has a shelf life of about 9 to 12 months. This is the time frame given, during which the bottle of Gatorade will have the best taste and freshness.

A container of powdered Gatorade on the other hand, if it has not been opened, has a longer shelf life and will last for around twenty-four months, although it can still be consumed for a while after the so-called ‘best-by’ date. 

When you open a bottle of Gatorade, however, it will not last for more than a week or ten days, if you are pushing it. Ideally, the instructions on the bottle indicate that once you open the bottle, you will need to keep it in the refrigerator and consume it within three to five days. After that, the drink will become weak and it would be prudent to dump it.

When you open a container of powdered Gatorade mix, its quality will start to diminish. You should ideally finish the contents and use the powder within six to seven month, although, once again, you can push it for a couple more months. As long as you remember to store it properly, you can increase the shelf life of the Gatorade powder.

Since both powdered Gatorade mix and a bottle of Gatorade drink are both shelf-stable pantry items, they do tend to last longer than their expiry dates or best-by dates, despite losing some of their potency as time passes.

However, it all comes down to how you store them, which determines whether your Gatorade drink or Gatorade powder is good to consume or has gone bad.

How Long Does Gatorade Last? Shelf Life [Chart]

Type of GatoradePantryRefrigerator
Unopened Gatorade Bottle‘Best-By Date’ (9-12 months) + 1-2 yearsN/A
Unopened Container of Gatorade Powder Mix‘Best-By Date’ (18-24 months) + 2-3 yearsN/A
Opened Bottle of Gatorade1-3 days7-10 days
Opened Container of Gatorade Powder Mix6-8 months12 months

How to Tell if Gatorade has Gone Bad

Even though Gatorade does not expire, it can still go bad if you do not store it properly. A good indicator that your Gatorade drink or powder has gone bad is if it smells or tastes bad when you drink it. 

Sometimes, the smell and the taste of the Gatorade will naturally change. It will diminish as time passes and the flavor will change accordingly. This is natural and does not necessarily mean that the powder mix or the drink has gone bad, just that it has become a little stale.

Here are some signs that your Gatorade has gone bad and it is time for you to dump it:

  • Smell

If your Gatorade drink smells a little off, if it has a sour, rancid odor or if it smells cloyingly pungent, then that is a good enough sign that it is no longer safe to drink it. 

  • Taste

The same goes for the taste. If you find that the taste is off, that the powdered Gatorade mix tastes bad, sour, bitter or funny, then it is time to bin it.

  • Mold

If you do not store your Gatorade in a proper place, then there is a good possibility that it might be affected by mold or some kind of fungal growth. A change in the temperature where you have stored your bottle or powdered Gatorade will also cause mold to grow. 

If you keep it in a damp, dark place where the air is laden with moisture and humidity, then you will find that the powder will become damp and will clump together. Where there is moisture and when the Gatorade is damp or clumpy, you will find mold growing within.

If you have already opened a bottle of Gatorade and it has been sitting inside your refrigerator for more than a week or even ten days, then it would be advisable to pour it down the drain. 

What Happens if You Consume Spoilt Gatorade?

If you consume Gatorade that has gone bad, you will feel discomfort in your stomach. You might even get an infection, so it is always advisable to check what you drink.

If you are unsure whether it is safe to drink, then it is better to err on the side of caution and dispose of it.

How to Store Gatorade Properly

The best place to store an unopened bottle of Gatorade drink or a container of powder Gatorade mix is in a cool and dry spot in your pantry or cupboard that is not directly under any artificial light or the rays of the sun. 

You can also store it in the refrigerator, although it would be better to only store a bottle in there once it has been opened. If you want to keep a container of the powder inside the fridge, then make sure it is tightly sealed or wrapped before you put it in.

This is because the refrigerator has a high level of moisture which can seep into the packaging and cause the Gatorade to become moldy.

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